Colossians 3:15-25 … The letter before us has been encouraging us all to put on attributes of God … compassion, kindness, patience, and love. Owing to our transitory human natures, we need this focus daily and so our letter continues in verse 15 with this guidance … allow the peace of Christ to rule in your hearts and allow the word of Christ to richly dwell within you (v.16). Colossians 3:16 can be considered a verse similar to 1 Corinthians 14:26 which asks (my paraphrase), “How is it brethren, when you come together?” … that is, when you gather for worship, what do you do? The guideline here is the same as that given to the Corinthians … teach, encourage, and sing praises with thanksgiving. Communal worship should be an edifying and uplifting time that we look forward to each week with anticipation as we share together the things of God.
As we move on in our reading, paragraphs are difficult to identify with translators taking different positions. The next thought begins in 3:17 with doing all things in the powerful name of Jesus. That simple guidance should be a life changer for anyone … whatever we’re called to do … do it in the name of Jesus with thanksgiving.
The example given next is important, perhaps because it not only is close to home; it is home and family. Ephesians 5:21 gives guidance and perspective to husbands and wives … “submit to one to another” … which is a mutual responsibility. But in matters that cannot be decided and someone must yield after all mutual discussions are concluded, God gives the responsibility (and it is a responsibility) to the husband to decide for the family … not in isolation and dictatorial arbitrariness, but (v.19) sacrificially in love come to the conclusion that will benefit the family. Colossians 3:20 continues with important guidelines for the family, for children and for dads in rule setting and discipline.
Finally, the passage concludes with guidance for those who serve. How do we approach work? Is it drudgery? It won’t be if we consider our work to be a ministry to the Lord … a ministry of love, of service, and of example … done for the Lord (v.23), which returns us to the thought where we began (v.17) … whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
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